Kinesiology of Exercise

Reverse Russian Twist

This is an advanced exercise that is used to strengthen the lower back muscles in trunk (shoulder) rotation to the rear. This exercise is basically the same as the back raise with a twist except that you maintain a horizontal position and rotate while holding a plate weight in the hands rather than a pole across the shoulders. 

Major Muscles and Actions Involved

The same muscles are involved as in the back raise with the twist (erector spinae and the deep spinal group). The hamstrings and gluteus maximus contract isometrically to stabilize the hips in a neutral position in order to hold the trunk in line with the lower body. In this exercise the muscles on only one side of the spine undergo dynamic contraction as you rotate through the full 180° ROM.

Sports Uses

The sports uses are the same as in the back raise with the twist

Exercise Analysis

  • Keep in mind that this is not an easy exercise. It takes great isometric strength to hold a level straight-line body position and at the same time rotate a full 90° to both sides. Thus you should not attempt this exercise until you can do the back raise with a twist with
    ease and hold yourself level while rotating.
  • In order to go through a full range of motion be sure that you do not use too heavy a weight. Range of motion in this exercise is more important than how much weight you are using. Also, do not use a swinging action to raise the weights. Be sure that you maintain the arm-shoulder complex in the same position at all times.
  • Initially you will not be able to do many repetitions. In time you will be able to increase the number of repetitions but only if you continue to go through the full ROM. This is the most important aspect of this exercise.
  • The key to safety and correct execution in this exercise is to maintain a horizontal position at all times. If you find yourself dropping down below level stop doing the exercise. 
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